This article was originally published in August 2005 in my print publication, Trove Mini-Magazine. I am re-printing it here because it seems even more relevant now than when I first published it.
About the world population figure: I have left it as I stated it at that time although I am certain there are quite a few more of us on this planet now than there was seven years ago.
The world as we know it cannot long endure. Does that sound like a startling pronouncement? I have to fight panic when I think about it.
The main thing of interest to us about the world we live in is the other people that live in it with us. Think of all the people on earth—the teeming masses.
Nobody wants to see children die of epidemic illnesses as happened in previous times. No one wants pandemics to kill huge numbers of people; but the fact is, even while those things were taking place in past centuries, the world’s population never ceased to grow and has now reached–give or take one or two million—6,500,000,000 people. That’s a crowd!
My husband and I live in a house all by ourselves, but we can’t always manage to agree or to stay out of each other’s way. Whenever people live to-gether, there are bound to be conflicts. As the world shrinks during our great information age, we are thrown into more and more contact with people of varying cultures, beliefs, hopes and expectations.
Were you ever jealous because your brother or sister or a friend received a bigger dish of ice cream than you did? Of course you were. That’s the nature—the human nature—with which we are born. And all over the world there are people who believe they are not getting their full dish of ice cream. And it’s not like there is enough of it to go around. Even the most generous of sharing policies will not fix the problem.
The blessings of this earth are finite. Sure, there’s a lot of oil, coal, diamonds and gold in the world. There is the capacity to grow food enough to feed the many people on earth—NOW! But the capacity of the population to increase is infinite. It is entirely possible that unless we are able to somehow escape the limi-tations of our tiny home planet, we will someday outgrow our resources, use up our fossil fuel, find ourselves scrambling for the basic necessities of food, water and even clean, breathable air.
It took all of human history for the world to reach its current population, but it is projected to double in the next fifty years—in the lifetime of your children. The world population increase every three years is currently almost equal to the entire present population of theUnited States!
What is the certain result of over-population of the earth? The answer—one we have already seen beginning to increase throughout the planet–is strife. It is human nature to want your share of the available supply of ice cream. All the various societal entities in the world will be trying to control the ice cream scoop. I do not fear the end of the world, but I do fear that chaos may over-take us first.
By Betty L. Killebrew